Saturday, June 30, 2012

Here We Go Magic - "How Do I Know" (2012)

Here We Go Magic is an American indie rock band based in Brooklyn, New York. Formerly the moniker of folk singer Luke Temple.

After previously releasing two folk albums under his own name in the mid-2000s,[1] Luke Temple released a self-titled album as Here We Go Magic in February 2009 on Western Vinyl, described by Pitchfork Media as "hazy electronic textures, endlessly-spiraling lyrical loops, occasional forays into extended sections of ambience and noise". Temple recorded the album at home on a 4-track recorder, describing the recording: "I just had one tom, one microphone, a synth and an acoustic guitar. I didn’t have a full drum kit or normal bass, it was just all synth stuff that I did myself."

Temple has since expanded the project into a band with musicians Kristina Lieberson (keyboards), Michael Bloch (guitar), Jennifer Turner (bass guitar), and Peter Hale (drums), and they were signed by Secretly Canadian in September 2009. They toured in 2009 with Grizzly Bear and The Walkmen. The second album Pigeons was released on June 8, 2010. The first single off Pigeons, "Collector", was rated "Best New Music" by Pitchfork Media on March 18, 2010.

The band performed at the SXSW festival in 2009 and again in March 2010, and just completed tours of North America with White Rabbits and Europe with The New Pornographers. In summer 2010 the band played at multiple major festivals including PrimaveraSound, Bonnaroo, Pitchfork, The Great Escape, Latitude, Bestival, and Glastonbury, where Thom Yorke said they were his favorite act of the festival. They ended the year 2010 touring with the Canadian band Broken Social Scene.

Euro 2012

More information:
» Official Site of EURO 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

Wizards Select Bradley Beal with Third Pick

“I didn’t know it was going to come this fast. Here I am today,” Beal said at Prudential Center after the Wizards selected him with the third pick in the NBA draft. “The greatest feeling ever. This is by far, the best feeling I’ve ever had. To actually achieve my dream and my goal is a blessing and an honor. I’m grateful right now, but I can’t stop here. I’ve got to get to work.”
Washington Post:
After all of the speculation, rumored deals and uncertainty, the Wizards got the player they had targeted all along — and Bradley Beal got the team he wanted to play for the moment he completed a workout at Verizon Center two weeks ago. The Charlotte Bobcats had been shopping the No. 2 around the league and several teams had expressed a desire to move up to earn the opportunity to draft Beal. Beal was understandably nervous, as he expressed to his family some worry that he could get drafted and dealt to a place where he didn’t want to play. But once the Bobcats selected Kentucky forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Beal was finally able to relax and look forward to beginning his career in Washington.

“To be honest, in the back of my head. I had the feeling after working out with them, that’s where I wanted to be,” Beal said. “At the end of the day, no matter where I would’ve landed, I would’ve been happy. But I’m grateful I’m in D.C.”

The Wizards were excited to have Beal, as well. Since taking point guard John Wall with the top choice in 2010, the Wizards haven’t escaped the bottom rung of the NBA. The team finished this past season with a 20-46 record, though a trade deadline deal for Nene sparked improvement. Washington closed the season on a six-game winning streak, providing encouragement for a franchise that missed the playoffs for a fourth straight campaign.

After completing a trade with New Orleans for center Emeka Okafor and small forward Trevor Ariza, the Wizards established the hope that they were done collecting high lottery picks and could possibly compete on a more consistent basis. Okafor and Ariza are both noted defenders but the deal also created an obvious need for more help on the perimeter.

The Wizards ranked 23rd in scoring and 28th in three-point shooting percentage and were desperately in need of some talent at the wing positions. With the addition of the 6-foot-3 Beal, they have now found a possible running mate to grow with Wall.

Wall led the Wizards with 16.3 points and 8.0 assists last season, but connected on only 7.1 percent (3 of 42) of his 3-point attempts.

Considered one of the premier perimeter shooters in the draft, Beal made 10 of 19 attempts from beyond the arc during the NCAA Tournament. Last season the Wizards ranked 28th in the NBA from beyond the arc, shooting 32 percent.

Jordan Crawford, the Wizards second-leading scorer (14.2), took over the starting guard role opposite Wall following Nick Young's trade to the Los Angeles Clippers as part of the deal for Nene.

Beal said he expected the three players to form a formidable back court in Washington. “I think it’ll be terrific. J-Wall and Crawford are both great players. He can create for himself and Crawford can put the ball in the rim,” said Beal, adding that he doesn’t feel any pressure to produce right away. “Not so much, because I’m not going to come in and force the issue. I’m going to try to play my role and have an impact as much as I can. . . . I think I am ready, physically and mentally. I know I have to get a lot stronger. It’s going to be some things that I’m going to have to go through. I’m still going to pick myself up and keep playing hard.”

Anthony Davis, the consensus national player of the year who led the Wildcats to a national championship last season, became the second player from Kentucky to go No. 1 overall — joining Wall — to the Hornets. Former teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was selected No. 2 overall by the Charlotte Bobcats.

Despite the uncertainty of the draft after Davis, the Wizards knew that at least two of the three players that they had targeted would be available with the third pick. They had their sights set on the freshman Beal, who averaged 14.8 points and 6.5 rebounds in his one season at Florida.

The Wizards also grabbed Tomas Satoransky, a 6-7 guard of Czech Republic with pick No. 32. Satoransky is a guy who didn't get much time on the floor in Europe this year, but he should continue to improve over the next few years.

More information:
» Mike Wise: "Beal can be that guy"
» ESPN: "Trade crowds Wizards' frontcourt"

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Adam Oates Named Capitals Coach

“You try to get the smartest guy in the room. In terms of his hockey IQ, I don’t know there’s a player that I’ve met that’s better,” George McPhee said.
Washington Post:
What a day for Adam Oates. In addition to being named the Washington Capitals’ new coach on Tuesday, Oates was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"Absolutely fantastic day. I don’t know if that’s happened before," Oates, 49, said on a conference call Tuesday afternoon. "I’ve got to go out and play lotto, I think. Just two huge honors. Obviously, I’m very excited about the coaching job and to be called to the Hall of Fame. It’s just a special, special day for us."

In addition to Oates, the Hockey Hall of Fame’s class of 2012 includes Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin and Pavel Bure.

Oates joins Mike Gartner, Rod Langway, Larry Murphy, Scott Stevens and Dino Cicarrelli as Capitals enshrined in the hall.

Oates, played in the NHL from 1985-2004, recording 1,420 points in 1,337 games while scoring 341 goals with 1,079 assists for Detroit, St. Louis, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Anaheim and Edmonton. Only Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux have averaged more assists-per-game than Oates in the NHL history, and only Gretzky (662) had more assists than Oates (636) during the 1990s.

Oates played for seven teams over a 19-year NHL career, including parts of six seasons with the Caps from 1997 to 2002. Oates led the Capitals in playoff scoring in 1998 as Washington advanced to its only Stanley Cup Final in team history.

Oates, played 19 seasons as a center in the NHL, including parts of six seasons with the Capitals from 1996-2002. His 290 assists rank 10th in team history, and he and Hunter were part of the 1997-98 team that made the only Stanley Cup finals appearance to date in franchise history.

When Hunter was traded in March 1999, Oates was selected as captain for the following season.

After retiring as a player in 2004, Oates was an assistant coach for Tampa Bay in 2009-10 before spending the past two seasons as an assistant in New Jersey, helping lead the Devils to this year’s Stanley Cup finals.

Oates' most formidable task will be to develop a playing style that best suits a Capitals roster brimming with talent and that can also succeed in the playoffs. Led by Alex Ovechkin, Washington won four consecutive Southeast Division titles under offensive-minded coach Bruce Boudreau but couldn't advance beyond the second round of the postseason.

Boudreau was fired in November after an early-season slump and was replaced by the defense-first Hunter. Hunter eventually rallied the players enough to get them back in the playoffs but couldn't push them to the conference finals.

Oates is the fifth consecutive first-time NHL head coach hired by general manager George McPhee during McPhee's 15 years with the Capitals, following Bruce Cassidy, Glen Hanlon, Boudreau and Hunter.

Oates, who spent six seasons in Washington as a player and captained the team in 1999-2000, will become the 16th coach in franchise history and the fifth hired by General Manager George McPhee during his 15-year tenure. All of McPhee’s hires have been first-time NHL head coaches and now his last two, including Dale Hunter, have been former Capitals.

Other candidates that were thought to be among the finalists include former Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Haviland, and Norfolk Admirals head coach Jon Cooper.

Oates, was an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils each of the past two seasons. During his time with the Devils, Oates was responsible for the power play and also played an important role in helping Russian star Ilya Kovalchuk develop a two-way game.

That experience, in addition to Oates’s first-hand knowledge of what it takes to be a top-level player in the NHL, will likely help him work with the Capitals’ stable of talented forwards, most notably Alex Ovechkin.

  • Capitals General Manager George McPhee selected a pair of forwards Friday night in the first-round of the 2012 NHL entry draft: highly touted Swedish center Filip Forsberg with the 11th overall pick and gritty winger Thomas Wilson at No. 16.
  • Washington acquired center Mike Ribeiro from the Dallas Stars on Friday night in exchange for prospect Cody Eakin and the 54th overall pick. The Montreal native recorded 18 goals and 45 assists for the Stars in 2011-12 — his eighth 50-point season — and is expected to be the Capitals’ second-line center.
  • The Capitals broke their string of U.S. national team prospects with the 195th pick, where they selected Swedish defenseman Christian Djoos. Djoos, 17, is listed at a rather lanky 5-11, 158, unlike the defenseman Washington took just two selections later. At No. 197 Washington added defenseman Jaynen Rissling (6-4, 223) from the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen.
  • The Capitals on Wednesday traded the rights to defenseman Dennis Wideman to Calgary in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2013 draft and AHL defenseman Jordan Henry.
  • Washington traded Tomas Vokoun in early June to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who signed him to a two-year, $4 million deal, for a seventh-round pick in the upcoming 2012 draft. Vokoun, 35, posted a 25-17-2 record in his one season with the Capitals, recording a .917 save percentage and 2.51 goals-against average before a groin tear in late February ultimately derailed his season.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Nats Lead the Majors in ERA at 2.95

“They have all been great. When you have talent, work quick, challenge hitters, strike out a lot of guys and have good defense behind you, that always works,” said pitching coach Steve McCatty. “This is a power-arm staff, but with great off-speed pitches that can strike people out inside the zone, not just on ‘chase’ pitches.”
Washington Post:
As the Baltimore Orioles came to bat in the eighth inning here on Sunday, they saw a scoreboard bearing a familiar ugly sight for teams that face the Washington Nationals: a “0” beside their team’s name.

After 70 games, the Nats not only lead the majors in ERA at 2.95, but they lead it by a huge and startling margin. Nobody is close. Only one team is less than four-tenths of a run behind. And most clubs are so far behind you can’t see them over the horizon. The Nats’ ERA is more than a full run lower than either the major league (3.98) or National League (3.96) ERA.

More times than not, the first-place Nats, 41-29 after going 18-14 in 32 straight games against AL East and NL East teams, have held on to win.

How good are they? Or, at least, how amazing have they been so far?

ERA+ is the best single statistic for measuring the excellence of a team’s pitching staff. It adjusts for the run-scoring levels of different eras and also factors in the influence of a team’s home ballpark. It’s not perfect, but it’s really good. And it seldom lies. The Nats’ current ERA+ is 135, which means, adjusted for fairly neutral Nats Park, they are 35 percent better than the major league norm in 2012. Where does that stand?

If the Nats maintain their current pace, they would have the second-best ERA+ in more than 100 years, second only to the 1926 Philadelphia A’s led by Hall of Famer Lefty Grove and 247-game winner Jack Quinn. The other teams in the top half-dozen over the last century (excluding World War II years) are the ’39 Yankees (Red Ruffing, Lefty Gomez); the ’97 and ’02 Braves of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz; and the ’54 Indians with Early Wynn, Bob Lemon, Bob Feller, Hal Newhouser (all Hall of Famers), and relievers Don Mossi and Ray Narleski. Talk about being in good company. (For the record, the Cubs of 1906 were the best since 1901.)

“We plan on doing this the whole year,” GM Mike Rizzo said after he was told his staff might have a chance to rank among the best ever.

As irony would have it, the Nats’ next four games are in Colorado, the worst pitchers park in generations. But after that, sanity should return.

“We’ve got unbelievable pitching. A lot of teams are noticing. How can they not?” said Tyler Clippard, who has been 12 for 12 in save opportunities with one hit allowed. “It’s fun to be part of. Our starters, two or three runs are the most they ever seem to give up.”

The ERAs of the starting rotation of Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler are 2.46, 2.55, 2.89, 2.91 and 3.09. Everybody talks about that. But relievers Craig Stammen, Sean Burnett, Ryan Mattheus and Clippard have a combined 1.73 ERA in 120 innings. And Drew Storen is coming back.

More runs would help, but the Nats’ staff isn’t expecting them — yet. “It’s still early. But what we’ve done so far is such a positive. When we get to August and September [when Jayson Werth returns], then what if we hit our stride [offensively]?” asked Clippard. “We can be dangerous. That could be something."

More information:
» ESPN: Nationals Pitching
» Sporting News: Bryce Harper vs. Mike Trout, after 40 days
» ESPN: R.A. Dickey on one of greatest rolls of all time

For comparison’s sake, let’s take a look at some of the elite pitchers in the game:

Zone% Z-Contact% SwStr%
Dickey 53.4 76.9 12.7
Hamels 46.3 79.4 12.6
Strasburg 46.4 82.5 12.3
Verlander 43.1 76.8 11.7
G. Gonzalez 42.7 81.6 10.7
Cain 45.8 85.5 9.9
League Avg. 45.0 88.0 8.5

Here, you see Dickey is getting more swinging strikes per pitch than anyone, while throwing the highest rate of pitches in the zone!  This is the most forthcoming depiction of just how dominant R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball has been through 14 starts this season.

Kanye - "Mercy" w/ Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz (2012)

Directed by Nabil Elderkin.
Released on June 6, 2012.

That's a Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4, not a Murciélago. The video features cameo appearances from fellow GOOD Music label mates Kid Cudi, Mr Hudson, CyHi the Prynce, Teyana Taylor, D'Banj and label producer Hit-Boy. The song peaked at number 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and hit number one on both the US Billboard Hot Rap Songs and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts. The song has since been certified Platinum, and has sold over 2 million copies in the US as of October 2012.

The song's production was handled by Lifted, with additional production from West, Mike Dean and Mike Will, and additional instrumentation from Hudson Mohawke. The song serves as the lead single from his label's upcoming compilation album Cruel Summer (2012). The song heavily samples the dancehall song "Dust a Sound Boy" by Super Beagle.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Spotlight: Kevin Durant

"Coming into the league, all I really wanted to do was become a player that everybody's going to remember once I'm done," Durant said. "I wish I could have had a better start to my rookie season. But after that I've learned a lot, I've grown a lot and I think every year I've been in this league I've grown as a player and hopefully I'll continue to do the same. My goal, of course, by the time I'm done playing is to be a Hall of Famer. So hopefully I'll do that. We'll see what happens."

Since Kobe is so good at specifics, we should let him describe what the ultimate manifestation of Durant could be.

"A 6-11 me," Bryant said. "That dog in him? He's got it in him."

In many ways, Durant already has moved past Bryant. This season, he beat Kobe out by a tenth of a point to claim his third straight scoring title, one more than Bryant has in his career. He finished second in the Most Valuable Player voting, two spots ahead of Kobe. And he knocked Kobe out of the playoffs.

"Not only did he beat Kobe, whom Durant called "probably the greatest player of my time," he also vanquished reigning champion Dirk Nowitzki and bested four-time champ and two-time MVP Tim Duncan.

"I won't say I'm as good as Tim Duncan and Russ is as good as Tony Parker," Durant said that night, "but just that chemistry they had, and just their personalities fit us, I think pretty well."

Later, Durant was asked by reporters about what aspects of the Duncan-Parker duo he hoped to emulate and he said, "Longevity, wins, championships."

The on-the-court version of Durant has been astounding since he was a kid. Thunder assistant general manager Troy Weaver's hometown is near where Durant grew up in Maryland, and he first saw Durant play when Durant was about 10 years old.

"He had focus in his eyes," Weaver said. "You could tell he wanted to be good and he loved the game. Even as a young kid. He just had a focus on the court. He wasn't easily distracted. You could tell the guy enjoyed being on the floor.

"A lot of kids toyed with different things. He found his first love early. That's the way I would describe it. The beauty about him is, he understands process. Getting better every day."

"Man, I don't know where this guy will end up as a player," Weaver said. "I do believe he's a generational player. It's hard to find that blend of commitment, work ethic and talent. It's rare to find that. The guy is 23. Let's sit down and talk again when he's 27. Who knows where this guy will be? I don't like in sports how we all want to pigeonhole guys. The great ones, you can't do that."

Through five seasons, Durant has scored 9,978 points in 380 games. Durant entered the league at age 19 after spending just his freshman year at Texas. If Durant plays at least 80 games a year and averages 26 points per game for the next 14 seasons -- through age 37 -- he can hit 39,000 points, topping Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's record of 38,387 career points.

Real Talk! I think coaching let the Thunder down in the Finals: "Foul trouble in Games 2 and 3 prompted Thunder coach Scott Brooks to shift Durant away from James coverage for the bulk of Game 4." And Harden -- c'mon maaaan. Future looks bright as fuck for KD though, and even negative sportswriters can't deny his greatness.

King James' Reign Begins

Inside SI:
Twenty-nine teams should be very afraid, because LeBron James has breached the championship levee, just as Michael Jordan did in 1991. Jordan was 28, and he won five more titles in the next seven years, even with a break for baseball. James is 27, and for the first time, he will get to play, as Heat president Pat Riley acknowledged, “with freedom.” LeBron making good on his promise to bring an NBA Championship to South Beach is the cover story for the July 2, 2012 issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands now.

James won his third NBA regular season MVP award, averaging 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game and led the Miami Heat to a 2-seed behind the Chicago Bulls. He punctuated one of the best regular seasons in the modern era with one of the best playoffs, leading the Heat with 30.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists, while shooting 50% and guarding everyone from Carmelo Anthony and Rajon Rondo to Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. In the series clinching Game 5 versus the Thunder he scored 26 points with 11 rebounds and 13 assists, eight of which led to three-pointers by five different teammates, accounting for 60 points in a 121–106 throttling of the Thunder.

“It’s time to make a new challenge. I’ve got to figure out what that is. I know I can get better. And I know I’m not satisfied with one of these. That’s the next challenge to do it again.” said LeBron James.

Senior writer Lee Jenkins points out that the championship could not have been won without a change in philosophy from one of the team’s best players. LeBron couldn’t carry the Heat if Dwyane Wade was going to claim the load.

“He basically looked at me one day and told me, ‘I need you to lead this team now,’” James says. “And then he did it during games. He’d say, ‘I need you to lead us right here.’ ” By the time the playoffs began, roles were defined. James was the headliner. Wade, suffering from an injured left knee, was the sidekick. “It was hard for me to do it,” Wade admits, “but it was easy for me to do it for the team.”

ESPN: "I can finally say that I'm a champion."

2012 NBA Finals Postgame

"LIV had to close its doors to the public by 3 a.m. once the team had arrived, already nearing capacity, and then it was time to pop bottles of champagne - an estimated tab of over $200,000 - including the legendary Ace of Spades super magnum-sized champagne (we're talking 15 liters of bubbly, people, with a sticker price of $75K)."
MIAMI -- As the Miami Heat's lead skyrocketed Thursday night from five just after halftime to an insurmountable 24 by the end of the third quarter, their fans outside the AmericanAirlines Arena decided it was time to celebrate the team's second NBA championship in six years.

The thousands gathered in bars, restaurants and a park near the arena screamed in joy late Thursday as the Heat dropped one 3-pointer after another. Fans used the fourth quarter to get an early start on their party as they watched their team coast to a 121-106 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Heat won the series in five games.

The promise made to South Florida fans 23 months earlier when LeBron James and Chris Bosh added their talents to Dwyane Wade's had arrived.

It had been a team effort, with major Game 5 contributions coming from supporting players Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier.

As the game ended, the fans from the neighborhood bars pushed happily toward the arena, meeting those leaving the game to jump, whoop and holler. They banged pots and pans and blew whistles. Championship shirts were sold, and special editions of The Miami Herald were handed out. Traffic on Biscayne Boulevard outside the arena was gridlocked.

The only negativity came when the Thunder's team bus left the arena -- some fans sprayed it with liquid and made obscene gestures toward the players as it crawled away. Still, Miami police reported no serious problems after the game.

James, the regular season and Finals MVP, may be hated in Cleveland and elsewhere for leaving his native state's Cavaliers, but his adopted hometown showered him with love after the game. Fans waved posters of their hero and defended him against critics, who branded him a choker who would never win a championship.

"I don't know how much better LeBron can get," Elgin Baylor said.

Rick Barry: "I know LeBron can be even better. That's scary to think about, but as good as he is he can be a lot better. Durant doesn't have the strength of LeBron, of course, but he's five years away from reaching his peak... Oh my God, it's scary how good he's going to be."

George Gervin on Kevin Durant: "His potential is scary."

"These guys are so good," Larry Bird said. "I'm glad I'm out of the league."

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Metta World Peace

sbnation talks trash about ron artest the man and i refuse to post the link

Friday, June 22, 2012

L'Ours (The Bear)

The Bear (known as L'Ours in its original release) is a 1988 French film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. Adapted from the novel The Grizzly King (1916) by American author James Oliver Curwood, the screenplay was written by Gérard Brach. Set in late 19th-century British Columbia, Canada, the film tells the story of an orphaned bear cub who befriends an adult male grizzly as hunters pursue them through the wild. Several of the themes explored in the story include orphanhood, peril and protection, and mercy toward and on the behalf of a reformed hunter.

Annaud and Brach began planning the story and production in 1981, although filming did not begin until six years later, due to the director's commitment to another project. The Bear was filmed almost entirely in the Italian and Austrian areas of the Dolomites from May 13 to the end of October 1987, with live animals—including Bart the Bear, a trained 9-foot tall Kodiak—present on location. Notable for its almost complete lack of dialogue and its minimal score, the film was nominated for and won numerous international awards, including an Academy Award from the from the National Academy of Cinema in France.

O.K., so they're bears, real bears, the Kodiak kind. They're Douce and Bart, the stars of ''The Bear,'' Jean-Jacques Annaud's prettily anthropomorphic attempt to outdo his own much more strikingly original ''Quest for Fire'' in sheer back-to-basics bravado. This time, without even the limited linguistics used by the prehistoric characters in that earlier film, Mr. Annaud has elected to see things from a mostly wordless, bear's-eye view, and has attempted to enter the thoughts of creatures who, as Mr. Annaud presents it, are a lot like us. Only better. ''The Bear,'' which opens today at the Ziegfeld, is a remarkable achievement only on its own terms, which happen to be extremely limited and peculiar. No less amazing than the material Mr. Annaud has captured on the screen is the fact that he has gone to such crazily elaborate lengths to capture it at all.

Some trivia about The Bear, courtesy of the film's elaborate production notes: the film makers engaged the services of a hoot owl, a golden eagle, 100 edible frogs, 150 ladybugs, 20,000 flies and 900,000 bees, among other creatures. Crew members were asked not to eat in the presence of the cast. Bart the bear was contractually guaranteed 6 whole processed chickens, 8 cans of fruit punch - chilled, please - and half a bag of ''omnivore diet'' as part of each day's rations.

The only accident during filming occurred when the 2,000-pound Bart pounced on Mr. Annaud, scared him badly and clawed the director's behind.

Spotlight: Alan Turing
Alan Mathison Turing FRS OBE (born June 23, 1912 in London, died June 7, 1954 at his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire) contributed to mathematics, cryptanalysis, logic, philosophy, biology, and formatively to computer science, cognitive science, Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Life.

Educated at Sherborne School in Dorset, Turing went up to King's College, Cambridge in October 1931 to read Mathematics. He was elected a Fellow of King's in March 1935, at the age of only 22. In the same year he invented the abstract computing machines - now known simply as Turing machines - on which all subsequent stored-program digital computers are modelled. A Turing machine consists of a potentially infinite paper tape, on which is written a finite number of discrete (e.g. binary) symbols, and a scanner that moves back and forth along the tape symbol by symbol, reading what it finds and writing further symbols. Turing proved that a single machine, known as the universal Turing machine, can be programmed to simulate any other Turing machine.

Turing and the American logician Alonzo Church argued that every effective mathematical method can be carried out by the universal Turing machine, a proposition now known as the Church-Turing thesis. A mathematical method is 'effective' if it can be set out as a list of instructions able to be followed by a human clerk who works obediently with paper and pencil, for as long as is necessary, but without insight or ingenuity. The Church-Turing thesis was hailed as a 'fundamental discovery' concerning the 'mathematicizing power of Homo Sapiens' (Emil Post's words in 1936). In a review of Turing's work, Church generously acknowledged the superiority of Turing's formulation of the thesis over his own, saying that the concept of computability by Turing machine 'has the advantage of making the identification with effectiveness ... evident immediately'.

Working independently, Turing and Church had both shown that - contrary to mathematical opinion of the day - there are well-defined mathematical problems that cannot be solved by effective methods; each published this result in 1936. This, in conjunction with the work of the Austrian logician Kurt Godel, put paid to the Hilbert programme in mathematics. David Hilbert, who in 1900 set the agenda for much of 20th century mathematics, asserted that mathematicians should seek to express mathematics in the form of a consistent, complete and decidable formal system. A consistent system is one that contains no contradictions; 'complete' means that every true mathematical statement is provable in the system; and 'decidable' means that there is an effective method for telling, of each mathematical statement, whether or not the statement is provable in the system. Hilbert's point was that if we came to possess such a formal system, then ignorance would be banished from mathematics forever. Given any mathematical assertion, we would be able to tell whether the assertion is true or false by determining whether or not it is provable in the system. That the formal system be decidable was an important condition: an undecidable system could not serve fully to banish ignorance, since we could not always be confident of being able to determine whether or not the assertion in question is provable in the system. Likewise, an incomplete system would be unsatisfactory, since the assertion in question might be true and yet unprovable in the system.

In 1931, Godel proved that Hilbert's ideal is impossible to satisfy, even in the case of simple arithmetic. There can be no consistent, complete formal system of arithmetic. This result is known as Godel's first incompleteness theorem. Godel's theorem says nothing about decidability, however. That aspect was addressed by Turing and Church. They showed independently, in 1936, that no consistent formal system of arithmetic is decidable; indeed, they showed that not even the weaker system known as first-order predicate logic is decidable. The Hilbertian dream lay in total ruin.

During 1936-1938 Turing continued his studies, now at Princeton University. He completed a PhD in mathematical logic under Church's direction, analysing the notion of 'intuition' in mathematics and introducing the idea of oracular computation, now fundamental in mathematical recursion theory. An 'oracle' is an abstract device able to solve mathematical problems too difficult for the universal Turing machine.

In the summer of 1938 Turing returned to his Fellowship at King's. At the outbreak of hostilities with Germany in September 1939 he left Cambridge for the wartime headquarters of the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire. Building on earlier work by Polish cryptanalysts, Turing contributed crucially to the design of electro-mechanical machines ('bombes') used to decipher Enigma, the code by means of which the German armed forces sought to protect their radio communications. Thanks to the bombes, by early 1942 GC&CS was decoding about 39,000 intercepted messages each month, rising subsequently to over 84,000 messages a month - approximately two every minute. Turing's work on the version of Enigma used by the German navy was vital to the battle for supremacy in the North Atlantic. He also contributed to the attack on the cyphers known as 'Fish'. Based on binary teleprinter code, Fish was used during the latter part of the war in preference to morse-based Enigma for the encryption of high-level signals, for example messages from Hitler and members of the German High Command. It is estimated that the work of GC&CS shortened the war in Europe by at least two years. Turing received the Order of the British Empire for the part he played. See also Alan Turing: Codebreaker and Computer Pioneer.

In 1945, the war over, Turing was recruited to the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in London, his brief to design and develop an electronic computer - a concrete form of the universal Turing machine. Turing's report setting out his design for the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) was the first relatively complete specification of an electronic stored-program general-purpose digital computer. Turing saw that speed and memory were the keys to computing. His design had much in common with today's RISC architectures and called for a high-speed memory of roughly the same capacity as an early Macintosh computer (enormous by the standards of his day). Had Turing's ACE been built as planned it would have been in a different league from the other early computers. However, his colleagues at NPL thought the engineering work too difficult to attempt, and a considerably smaller machine was built, the Pilot Model ACE. With a clock speed of 1 MHz this was for some time the fastest computer in the world. Computers deriving from Turing's original design remained in use until about 1970 (including the Bendix G15, arguably the first personal computer).

Delays beyond Turing's control resulted in NPL's losing the race to build the world's first working electronic stored-program digital computer - an honour that went to the Royal Society Computing Machine Laboratory at Manchester University, in June 1948. Discouraged by the delays at NPL, Turing took up the Deputy Directorship of the Royal Society Computing Machine Laboratory in that year (there was no Director). His theoretical work of 1935-36 had been a fundamental influence on the Manchester computer project from its inception. Turing's principal practical contribution at Manchester was to design the programming system of the Ferranti Mark I, the world's first commercially available electronic digital computer.

Turing was a founding father of modern cognitive science and a leading early exponent of the hypothesis that the human brain is in large part a digital computing machine, theorising that the cortex at birth is an 'unorganised machine' which through 'training' becomes organised 'into a universal machine or something like it'. He pioneered Artificial Intelligence (AI): his work in this area, including his anticipation of modern connectionist approaches, is described elsewhere on this site.

Turing spent the rest of his short career at Manchester University, being appointed to a specially created Readership in the Theory of Computing in May 1953. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in March 1951 (a high honour). In March 1952 he was prosecuted for his homosexuality, then a crime in Britain, and sentenced to a period of twelve months hormone 'therapy' - shabby treatment from the country he had helped save, which he seems to have borne with amused fortitude.

From 1951 Turing worked on what would now be called Artificial Life, using the Ferranti Mark I computer to model aspects of biological growth, in particular a chemical mechanism by which the genes of a zygote could determine the anatomical structure of the resulting animal or plant. He committed suicide in the midst of this groundbreaking work.

More information:
» BBC: Separating the Man from the Myth
» Computer World: How Alan Turing Set the Rules for Computing

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Spotlight: LaDainian Tomlinson

"Basically, I’m going to be 33 years old and quite frankly I feel like it’s just time. As a running back you try to continue to play at a high level. At 33 years old, it’s pretty difficult."
SAN DIEGO -- Joined by his family and several former teammates, LaDainian Tomlinson ended his brilliant 11-year NFL career the same way he started it - with the San Diego Chargers.

Tomlinson signed a one-day contract with the Chargers on Monday and then announced his retirement.

"It wasn't because I didn't want to play anymore. It was simply time to move on," Tomlinson said.

Tomlinson rushed for 13,684 yards, fifth all-time, and scored 162 touchdowns, third-most ever. His 145 rushing touchdowns are second-most in history. He also passed for seven touchdowns.

Just as importantly, he helped the Chargers dig out from one of their worst stretches to become a force in the AFC West. He played his first nine seasons with San Diego and the last two years with the New York Jets.

Tomlinson, who turns 33 on Saturday, said he knew at the end of last season that he'd probably retire. He said he was still physically capable of playing but mentioned the mental toll it takes to play at a high level.

Tomlinson didn't shed any tears, as he did two years ago after being released by the Chargers.

L.T. recalled the news conference in 2006 when former teammate Junior Seau announced his first retirement.

"He said, 'I'm graduating today.' I've been playing football 20-some years and so at some point it almost seems like school every year where you sacrifice so much and there is so much you put on the line, mentally and physically, with your body, everything," Tomlinson said. "So today, I take the words of Junior Seau: I feel like I'm graduating. I really do, because I've got my life ahead of me, I'm healthy, I'm happy with a great family and I'm excited to now be a fan and watch you guys play."

Tomlinson said he has special memories even though the Chargers never got to the Super Bowl during his time with them.

His most memorable moment with San Diego came on Dec. 10, 2006, when he swept into the end zone late in a game against the Denver Broncos for his third touchdown of the afternoon to break Shaun Alexander's year-old record of 28 touchdowns.

His linemen hoisted him onto their shoulders and carried him toward the sideline, with Tomlinson holding the ball high in his right hand and waving his left index finger, while the fans chanted "L.T.! L.T.!" and "MVP! MVP!"

That season, he rushed for 1815 yards and 28 TDs, accumulated another 508 yards and 3 TDs receiving, and even threw for two, giving him:
  • The all-time NFL record for single season rushing touchdowns (28). (The previous record was 27, set in 2003 by Priest Holmes and in 2005 by Shaun Alexander.)
  • The all-time NFL record for single season touchdowns (31). (The previous record was 28, set in 2005 by Shaun Alexander.)
  • The all-time NFL record for the most points scored in a single season (186). (The previous record was 176, set in 1960 by Paul Hornung.)
  • NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year Award for 2006, a bunch of ESPY awards, and the 2007 Most Unstoppable Jock on Spike TV Guys' Choice Awards, beating out finalist Kobe Bryant.

"Those were championship days, for not only myself and my teammates, but my family as well," said Tomlinson, who won two NFL rushing titles. "So I'm OK with never winning a Super Bowl championship. I know we've got many memories that we can call championship days."

Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates were among the several former teammates in the crowd, as were offensive linemen Nick Hardwick, Jeromey Clary and recently retired Kris Dielman. Also in attendance was Ryan Mathews, who replaced Tomlinson as the Chargers' featured back in 2010.

Tomlinson said of his offensive linemen, "They were my best friends."

Dielman retired in March due to a concussion.

"I was a part of greatness," Dielman said of Tomlinson's career. "And it was awesome to be a part of it. It was awesome to watch. I mean, I had the best seat in the house. It was a fun time."

Team President Dean Spanos said few players have had a bigger role or meant more to the team and the city than Tomlinson.

Spanos recalled being told by then-general manager John Butler on the day before the 2001 draft that the Chargers had traded the No. 1 overall pick to Atlanta for a package that included the No. 5 overall pick.

"I said, `Great,' and then asked him who he liked with the fifth pick. I clearly remember him telling me, `Well, there's this great running back from TCU who could help us.'

"It's funny now, but I also remember asking him, `Is he any good?' And I remember that John said, `Yeah, he's going to be something special.' I wish John was here today so I could thank him for making what has probably become the most significant trade in the history of the San Diego Chargers."

Butler died in 2003.

Spanos said no other Chargers player will wear Tomlinson's No. 21, and that a retirement ceremony will be held sometime in the future.

Tomlinson and Spanos both signed the ceremonial one-day contract.

"I didn't even check how much it was for. It was worth it," Spanos quipped.

"People and players like LaDainian Tomlinson don't come around very often, if at all," Jets chairman and CEO Woody Johnson said in a statement. "His humility and work ethic made it clear why he will be remembered as one of the game's best players. Without question, his next stop will be the Pro Football Hall of Fame."

Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum said Tomlinson "never took one day for granted when it came to any aspect of his performance. His commitment drew his teammates to him and elevated everyone that came in contact with him."

L.T. is currently:
  • 2nd all-time in rushing TDs (145), behind Emmitt Smith (164).
  • 3rd all-time in total TDs (162), behind Emmitt Smith (175) and Jerry Rice (208).
  • 5th all-time in yards rushing (13,684), and 5th all-time in total yards from scrimmage (18,456).
  • A five-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro (2002-2007).

Did You Know?
He ran a 4.38s 40-yard dash at the NFL combine before being selected as the fifth overall pick by the San Diego Chargers in the 2001 draft.

Did You Know?
He has also proven to be effective as a passer, having completed eight career passes, seven of them for touchdowns and a career passer rating of 154.4.

College Honors at TCU:
  • Set NCAA record for yards in one game (406) against UTEP his junior season in 1999.
  • Led NCAA with 1,850 yards rushing and 18 TDs his junior season.
  • Led NCAA again his senior season with 2,158 yards and 22 TDs.
  • Won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's best running back his senior season, and was a finalist for the Heisman but came in fourth.
  • Ranks sixth all-time in NCAA Division I with 5,263 rushing yards.

More information:
SI: LT's Career, By The Numbers

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Spotlight: Billy West

"In 1962, I remember running away from the TV set, and starting to think about what I just saw, and praying I could remember every little thing about it," said a candid West. "And, then I got my hands on a reel-to-reel tape recorder, started taping TV shows, my own voice and others in secret. My world was kind of a sonic one, I used to listen to the radio more than TV—it all held a real special interest for me."
William Richard West (born April 16, 1950) is an American voice actor. Born in Detroit but raised in the Roslindale neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, Billy launched his career in the early 1980s performing daily comedic routines on Boston's WBCN. He left the radio station to work on the short-lived revival of Beany and Cecil in 1988. He was also a writer and castmember on The Howard Stern Show during the early to mid 1990s, where he gained nationwide fame with his impersonations.

Over his career West has been the voice talent for close to 120 different characters including some of the most iconic animated figures in television history. He has become one of few voice actors who can impersonate Mel Blanc in his prime, including characterizations of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and other characters from Warner Bros. cartoons.

West's first two high-profile roles came almost simultaneously: as Doug Funnie and Roger Klotz on Doug and as Stimpy on Ren & Stimpy, which were two of the first original three Nicktoons (the other being Rugrats).

Ren & Stimpy
West provided the voice of Stimpy in Nickelodeon's The Ren & Stimpy Show from 1991 until 1996, and he provided the voice of Ren from 1993–1996 (after Ren's original voice and series creator John Kricfalusi was fired by Nickelodeon for delivering un-airable episodes). West performed other characters on the series as well, such as Mr. Horse (another role that West was issued after Kricfalusi's departure) and the "Announcer/Salesman" of such shorts as the "Log" ads (a voice West would years later use as the Narrator for The Weird Al Show).

According to West, he was originally supposed to do the voice of both Ren and Stimpy (and performed both characters on the tape that was used to sell the show to Nickelodeon), but then Kricfalusi decided to do the voice of Ren himself once the show was sold and he had West on board as part of the selling point. However, West provided Ren's maniacal laughter when John Kricfalusi was the voice of Ren.

Billy West's roles in Futurama include Philip J. Fry, Professor Hubert Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg and Zapp Brannigan, as well as various other incidental characters. As he and other Futurama cast and crew point out in DVD commentaries, West voiced so many characters throughout the series that conversations are often held entirely between characters he is voicing.

West went into the Futurama auditions and was asked to try out for, as he says, "just about every part"; eventually landing the professor, Zoidberg, and Zapp Brannigan. West later got the part of Fry, which originally had gone to Charlie Schlatter. While West is known for doing many different and unique voices, the voice he does for Philip J. Fry is often considered to be closer to his natural voice than any other character he has done (in an audio commentary, he states Fry is just himself at age 25). This similarity, West acknowledges, was done purposefully in order to make it harder to replace him in the part along with placing more of himself personally into the role.

The part of Zapp Brannigan was created for Phil Hartman, but he died before the show started and West was issued the role. West has described his interpretation of Zapp Brannigan's voice as an imitation of Hartman, but described the actual vocalizations of the character as being based on "a couple of big dumb announcers I knew."

Futurama was renewed by Comedy Central as four direct-to-DVD films broken into 16 television episodes. West reprised his roles for these films, and has been signed on for a new 26-episode season of Futurama which began airing in June 2010.

Perhaps West's most notable film work came in the 1996 movie Space Jam. Starring alongside Michael Jordan, West provided the voice of both Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. He reprised the roles in subsequent Looney Tunes feature-length films and video games. In 1998, West starred in the direct-to-video film Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island as Shaggy Rogers, becoming the second person to portray the character (the first being Casey Kasem). He also appeared in a cameo in Garfield: The Movie. Other films featuring West's vocal talents include Joe's Apartment, Cats & Dogs, Olive, the Other Reindeer, TMNT, The Proud Family Movie, and three Tom and Jerry direct-to-video movies.

West is also a guitarist and singer-songwriter with a band called Billy West and The Grief Counselors. They've released their first album, Me-Pod. West has toured as a guitarist for Roy Orbison and Brian Wilson. West has collaborated with Deborah Harry & Lou Reed, Los Lobos and played live on several occasions with Brian Wilson, including the guitar solo on the Beach Boys tune "Do it Again" on Late Show with David Letterman, in the mid 1990s.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dave Matthews Band Summer Tour

"The band are currently recording a new album with Steve Lillywhite, producer of the band's first three studio albums, Under The Table And Dreaming, Crash and Before These Crowded Streets. The new record will be the follow-up studio album to their 2009 Grammy nominated album, Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King."

Washington Post:

Eh Hee
Proudest Monkey
So Damn Lucky
So Right
Jimi Thing
If Only
Rhyme & Reason (with Joe Lawlor)
What Would You Say
Don't Drink the Water

Grey Street

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Epic Sports Fan Distractions

Duke's "Speedo Guy"

Utah State's "Wild Bill"

Vancouver Canucks' "Green Men"

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Los Angeles Kings Crush NHL Finals

"After Monday night, they are not only one of the league's youngest teams, they are the league's best team and will go down as one of the greatest postseason teams in NHL history. Their 16-4 record in the playoffs is second only to the 1988 Edmonton Oilers, and their journey from No. 8 seed to champions is unprecedented in professional sports."
Fox Sports:
The Los Angeles Kings' 45-year quest for an NHL title ended Monday night with an early flurry of power-play goals, followed by two periods of unbearable anticipation - right up to the moment when Dustin Brown snatched the Stanley Cup from Commissioner Gary Bettman.

Brown skated to center ice and thrust the 36-pound silver trophy skyward, the captain never flinching under the weight. Long-suffering L.A. fans, some who have been ringside since the birth of the expansion franchise in 1965, went crazy. The Kings are NHL champions for the first time, and all the men in black played a role in this Tinseltown blockbuster.

Jeff Carter and Trevor Lewis scored two goals apiece, playoff MVP Jonathan Quick made 17 saves in his latest stellar performance, and the Kings beat the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in Game 6 of the finals, becoming the first eighth-seeded playoff team to win the league title.

Quick won the Conn Smythe Trophy, adding one more dominant game to a run in which he set NHL records for save percentage (.946) and goals-against average (1.41) among goalies who played at least 15 postseason games.

Brown capped his impressive playoff work by finishing with 20 points, tied for the postseason scoring lead with linemate Anze Kopitar. And Brown, just the second American-born captain to raise the Cup after Dallas' Derian Hatcher, accomplished what even Wayne Gretzky couldn't do in eight years in Los Angeles.

The Kings steamrolled everyone in their path after barely making the playoffs, eliminating the top three seeds in the Western Conference in overwhelming fashion as they matched the second-fastest run to a title in modern NHL history.

The Devils became the third team in NHL history, and the first since 1945, to win twice after falling behind 0-3 in the finals. But the Kings boasted a talented, balanced roster that peaked at the absolute perfect time under midseason coaching hire Darryl Sutter, who replaced the fired Terry Murray shortly before Christmas and turned Los Angeles into a contender by late February.

Greenwich Time:
"I have been able to relax some since my family got back to Connecticut," Jonathan Quick said. "The victory parade in Los Angeles was great. The whole Kings team threw out the first pitch at a Los Angeles Dodgers game. As time has gone on, I understand what a great group accomplishment (winning the Stanley Cup) was."

The Western Conference No. 8 seeded Kings -- who saw Darryl Sutter take over as head coach mid-season on Dec. 20 -- were especially dominant on the road in the playoffs.

They led 3-0 in all four rounds, beating Vancouver 4-1, St. Louis 4-0, Phoenix 4-1 and the New Jersey Devils 4-2 in the Stanley Cup finals.

The Kings trailed for only 184 minutes the entire postseason, and the Conn Smythe Trophy winner was a major reason. He had three shutouts and allowed one goal or less in 10 of Los Angeles' 16 postseason victories, saving 509 out of 538 playoff shots that came in his direction.

The 26-year-old Quick capped one of the greatest seasons by a goaltender in the history of the NHL. In 69 regular-season games, he went 35-21-13 -- a mark that would've been far more impressive if the Kings hadn't been the worst offensive team in the NHL for about four months -- with a 1.95 goals-against average and .929 save percentage.

"For me personally, a lot of things fell into place," Quick continued. "It was my third full season starting for the Kings. I had maturity and experience. Goaltender coach Bill Ranford was a big help. But the team made my job easy."

Quick was rewarded with a 10-year, $58 million dollar contract extension this month. However, the pact starts in the 2013-14 NHL season. Quick will make $1.8 million in 2012-13.

The contract extension protects Quick if current negotiations between the NHL and the NHL Players Association on a new collective bargaining agreement result in another lockout.

More information:
» NHL: Stanley Cup Final Coverage
» ESPN: Kings' First Cup Long Time Coming
» SI: The Kings' Road to the Stanley Cup

"Los Angeles was well represented [at the ESPY Awards], with the Kings winning for best upset after their run to the NHL championship as an eighth seed, and Kings goalie Jonathan Quick winning best NHL player after helping the franchise win its first Stanley Cup title. Galaxy star David Beckham earned best MLS player honors."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"Clown Question Bro"

Denver Beer Co. has a new 'Clown Question Bro' beer, and there's t-shirts, but the best meme-killer is when actual clowns start biting the phrase...

...let's just get back to baseball.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Nadal Wins Record 7th French Open Title

"I won four titles already this year in my favorite court. That’s clay,” Nadal said, as if his audience needed a reminder. “I don’t have that chance to play in my favorite court the rest of the season. That’s the calendar."

PARIS - Rain or shine, clay or mud, Sunday or Monday, Rafael Nadal rules Roland Garros.

The man they call "Rafa" won his record seventh French Open title Monday, returning a day after getting rained out to put the finishing touches on a 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 victory over Novak Djokovic. He denied Djokovic in his own run at history - the quest for the "Novak Slam."

The match ended on Djokovic's double-fault, a fittingly awkward conclusion to an emotion-packed final that had plenty of stops and starts, including a brief delay during the fourth set Monday while - what else? - a rain shower passed over the stadium.

It was a 3 hour, 50 minute match spread over two days filled with momentum swings, outbursts, testy exchanges with the officials and then, finally, a familiar closing act: Nadal, the second-seeded Spaniard, down on his knees, celebrating a title at a place that feels like home.

"I suffered," Nadal said, "but I enjoyed."

Wrapping up the match a few minutes after the match's last rain shower stopped, Nadal broke the record he shared with Bjorn Borg, improved to 52-1 at the French Open and beat the man who had defeated him in the last three Grand Slam finals.

"I don't know if I am the best or not," Nadal said. "I am not the right one to say that. The only thing is, I have probably one of the best results ever, probably in this kind of surface, and for me [that] is great."

After serving his fourth double-fault of the match, the top-seeded Djokovic dropped his head, slumped his shoulders and walked slowly toward the net - an emotional two-day adventure complete, and not with the result he wanted.

He was trying to become the first man since Rod Laver, 43 years ago, to win four straight major titles. He came up short just as Roger Federer twice did in seeking four in a row - his pursuit also halted by Nadal at Roland Garros in 2006 and 2007.

Nadal won his 11th overall Grand Slam title, tying him with Borg and Laver for fourth among the all-time leaders.

Last year, Nadal won at Roland Garros, fell to the clay, held the trophy and headed off into the rest of the season. He did not win another tournament. It’s not that he played poorly, even if there were some rough patches in Montreal, Cincinnati and Shanghai. But Nadal still made the final at Wimbledon and at the United States Open, where he lost to Djokovic both times.

The questions now, since Nadal’s triumph at the French is the closest thing in tennis to a given, is whether he is playing at a level higher than in 2011 and whether that will carry over as the season chugs along. Nadal maintained he is playing better than he did last season, even on his favorite surface.

His rivalry with Djokovic should be central to the narrative of the rest of the season, although Federer remains a threat. Nadal has played in the last five Grand Slam finals, but lost three of them to Djokovic and won only at the French, albeit twice.

“You have to find your moments,” Nadal said. “It’s not possible to be perfect every time. I going to try to keep having chances to win, produce chances to win. I produced a lot of chances to win last year, but I lost almost every one.”

Monday, June 11, 2012

NBA Finals: By The Numbers

1 -- The Thunder are making the franchise's first Finals appearance in the Oklahoma City era.

3 -- The Thunder's Kevin Durant has won the NBA scoring title 3 times in his career and the Heat's LeBron James has been named NBA MVP three times.

6 -- OKC's Derek Fisher is vying to win his 6th NBA title and first with a team other than the Lakers. Only Robert Horry and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have won as many as 6 titles with multiple teams.

26 -- Over past two seasons Miami has recorded 26 postseason wins, the most by any NBA team. Second on the list is Oklahoma City with 21.

215 -- The 2012 NBA Finals will have unprecedented global coverage, reaching fans live in 215 countries and territories in 47 languages on their televisions, computers, mobile phones and tablets.

Of the 23 Thunder lineups that have played at least 50 minutes in the playoffs, the unit of Westbrook, Harden, Durant, Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins has been the best offensively, scoring almost 119 points per 100 possessions in 89 minutes together. Next best has been the Miami unit of Mario Chalmers, Wade, James, Shane Battier and Haslem, which has scored just over 112 points per 100 possessions in 92 minutes together.

Fourth-Quarter Strength
Over the course of the postseason, the Thunder have been outscored by 25 points in the first quarter, when they've been their weakest offensively. The Heat have been outscored by four points in the second quarter, when they've been their worst defensively.

Interestingly, both teams have been at their best in the fourth quarter. Miami has been the No. 1 fourth-quarter team in the playoffs, having outscored their opponents by almost 22 points per 100 possessions in the final 12 minutes. And Oklahoma City is right behind them, having outscored their opponents by 17 points per 100 possessions in the fourth.

Home-Court Advantage
Since the NBA switched to the 2-3-2 Finals format in 1985, the team with the first two games at home has won 20 of the 27 series, a winning percentage of .741. When you compare that to a .661 winning percentage (37-19) for the team with home-court advantage in the conference finals (2-2-1-1-1 format) since '85, you see that the Heat have some tough odds to overcome.

Why? Perhaps because it's difficult to beat a Finals-worthy team three times in a row, even at home. Only two of the 27 teams with the middle three games at home -- the 2004 Pistons and 2006 Heat -- have won all three. One other -- the 1995 Rockets -- won the series in a sweep.

If the lower seed can't win all three of their home games, they have to win at least two on the road. The Mavs pulled it off last year. Can the Heat now do what was done to them?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bonnaroo 2012!

Bonnaroo 2012 Setlists

Biggest: Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gary Clark Jr., Rodrigo y Gabriela, ?uestlove and D'Angelo at Superjam, Black Star, Danzig, Battles, Aziz Ansari (comedy theatre)
Best Suprises: Moon Taxi, SBTRKT, Yelawolf, Punch Brothers, DJ Equal
Fun: Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, Das Racist, Stooges Brass Band
Must See: Umphree's Mcgee, Big Gigantic, Major Lazer, Mogwai, Here We Go Magic, Flying Lotus, tUnE-yArDs, Pujol, Puscifer, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., St. Vincent, White Denim, Michael Kiwanuka, Art vs. Science

» Setlist
» Full Set

Red Hot Chili Peppers:
» Setlist
» Spinner Article

» Setlist

More information:
» Official Bonnaroo YouTube
» Pitchfork: Bonnaroo 2012
» MTV: 11 Moments You Missed (But We Didn't!)
» Pure Volume: The Street Art
» Billboard: 10 Awesome & Awful Bonnaroo Moments